Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater will continue to sit as an
independent member even though he was invited to return to the Liberal party caucus by the premier.
Slater confirmed he had short phone conversation with Christy Clark on Tuesday and that during the call she extended the invitation to rejoin the party.
"She wants my support for the budget," said Slater. "The bottom line is I haven't seen the budget. I'm not privy to it."
The Liberals dumped Slater in mid-January, announcing the party would not support his candidacy in Boundary-Similkameen, due to unspecified "personal issues."
Slater had planned to seek re-election as in independent, but a short time later he released an official statement saying he was withdrawing from the race.
"I'm not happy with the Liberals. I'm not happy with how I was treated," he said. "I feel betrayed by the leaders of the Liberal party - there's no question about that."
Linda Larson, an Oliver town councillor and former Oliver mayor, was chosen as Liberal candidate for the Boundary-Similkameen earlier this month.
Slater accused members of the party of sabotaging his bid to seek re-election.
"I've got a lot of really good friends that are on the Liberal caucus, and they've come up to me in the last few weeks and said we're really sorry about what happened," he said.
Slater noted that Clark had reached out to him about two weeks ago, but he delayed having a conversation with her and admitted he was still feeling slighted after being rejected by the party.
"She phoned me and I didn't know what it was about, to be honest," he said, adding he had hoped for a face-to-face encounter.
Clark, who was visiting Penticton Regional Hospital on Friday morning, was asked about her conversation with Slater.
She referred to him as her "friend," but noted that what he wanted to do was up to him.
"He would be welcome to rejoin if he chose to do that," she said.
"It's his choice to make."
Clark made the surprise stop at the hospital two days after a public information meeting presented by the Penticton Medical Society. The medical society is seeking approval for a $300-million expansion to the aging hospital. The government's share for the project comes to about